Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-21s played out a goalless draw with Southend in a cagey behind-closed-doors friendly at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.
With six days until the side’s next competitive fixture against Middlesbrough, Albion were put through their paces by a strong Shrimpers side in a closely-fought contest.
The Seagulls created the first meaningful chance of the match when Jesse Starkey’s free kick from a central position sailed over the crossbar.
Jeffrey Monakana then made the first of many surging runs down the left-hand side during the first half, and set up Danny Pappoe inside the box, but the defender scuffed his shot and Southend cleared the danger.
The visitors then grew into the game and had a golden opportunity to take the lead themselves, but Jason Williams headed the ball wide of Josh Smith’s goal from inside the six-yard box.
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Albion still carried a threat going forward, through Monakana in particular, as the winger cut inside from the left and saw his strike go over the crossbar.
The Shrimpers had two further chances to break the deadlock in quick succession just before the half-hour mark, as Ellis Brown saw his close-range strike go past the far post while Myles Weston’s effort went over the upright.
Weston was involved in the thick of the action just before the interval, delivering a dangerous ball into the box that was narrowly missed by Brown.
Simon Ireland’s side gradually took control of the match in the second half, as substitute Jason Davis set up a chance for Monakana, whose strike rose over the crossbar before the latter’s free kick sailed over the upright.
Davis was one of Albion’s main attacking threats in the second half and after making a surging run down the right-hand side his cross failed to find a blue-and-white-striped shirt inside the box.
Starkey also had a couple of chances to break the deadlock in the final ten minutes after cutting inside and seeing his in-swinging cross cleared off the line, before forcing a fine save from the Southend keeper, but the game ended all square.
ALBION: Smith; Barry, Dallison (Barclay 57), Pappoe, Hunt; Monakana, Harris (Collar 57), Starkey; Deen, Balmy (Wiltshire 57), Muitt (Davis 45). Sub not used: Doherty (GK)